[nabs-l] Blindness versus other minority groups

Ashley Bramlett bookwormahb at earthlink.net
Sun Nov 20 20:32:46 UTC 2011

Ah Paralanguage! That is the term I learned in communications classes for 
this, what I was trying to describe earlier.
And, yes, you can hear the person's direction, whether they are looking at 
you or down at a book or just down.
If they are looking down, it is a nonverbal cue that they are busy or doing 
something else and do not want to talk, but may not tell you.
Another clue is if they are looking away. If they stop looking toward you, 
they might be getting the attention of someone else across the room by 
looking toward them.

When you said
"Paralanguage and other cues often supplement gestures and expressions." I 
think that is very true. I've noticed that people use gestures and other 
nonverbals even on a phone. Why? Because its natural to talk that way, a way 
of expressing themselves. But obviously, these expressions are manefisted by 
listening to have an effective conversation.
-----Original Message----- 
From: SA Mobile
Sent: Sunday, November 20, 2011 12:51 AM
To: National Association of Blind Students mailing list
Subject: Re: [nabs-l] Blindness versus other minority groups


One can hear the more important body language by listening to vocal 
direction and resonance; this is how you hear a smile or know if someone's 
looking down. These are just examples. Paralanguage and other cues often 
supplement gestures and expressions.

As to direct eye contact, it is actually seldom done even in the States 
except for very brief periods. So just facing someone is quite sufficient in 
our culture.

Respectfully Submitted

Sent from my iPhone

On 19/11/2011, at 9:20 PM, Chris Nusbaum <dotkid.nusbaum at gmail.com> wrote:

> Hi Tara,
> That's a good point.  However, I'm not sure if the class is needed.  I say 
> this because, especially in the case of those of us (like myself) who are 
> totally blind or only have light perception, we would only get one side of 
> the body language; that is, the body language that we display to sighted 
> people.  While this is important, especially in how we present ourselves 
> for things like job interviews and such, we'll have no way of knowing what 
> body language sighted people are conveying to us, no matter what classes 
> on the subject we take.  This is because, simply, we can't see the body 
> language! So, in short, by taking the suggested body language course, we'd 
> only get to use half of the information taught, because we can't discern 
> what sighted people are conveying to us via body language, and therefore 
> can't react to it.
> Chris
> "The real problem of blindness is not the loss of eyesight.  The real 
> problem is the misunderstanding and lack of education that exists.  If a 
> blind person has the proper training and opportunity, blindness can be 
> reduced to a mere physical nuisance."
> -- Kenneth Jernigan (President, National Federation of the Blind, 
> 1968-1986
> P.S.  The I C.A.N.  Foundation helps blind and visually impaired youth in 
> Maryland say "I can," by empowering them through providing assistive 
> technology and scholarships to camps and conventions which help them be 
> equal with their sighted peers.  For more information about the Foundation 
> and to support our work, visit us online at www.icanfoundation.info!
> Sent from my BrailleNote Apex
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: Tara Annis <TAnnis at afb.net
> To: "nabs-l at nfbnet.org" <nabs-l at nfbnet.org
> Date sent: Tue, 15 Nov 2011 10:20:31 -0500
> Subject: [nabs-l] Blindness versus other minority groups
> I think the first step in helping blind people to get their feelings 
> across to the sighted is  to understand what is considered ignorance and 
> what is considered outright teasing and cruelty in public.  Many of the 
> meanest things are just said with one word    and a lot of body language. 
> Many people who hate blind people speak in a nice manner, but  exhibit 
> cruelty in their body language.  I do think a lot of blind people, not 
> all, but some, do lack discernment in this area, especially if they are 
> blind from birth and a sighted person  does not take the time to explain 
> nonverbal communication.  I think the first step would be for an honest 
> sighted person to follow a blind person around and interpret the visual 
> elements to the blind person, so that the entire picture can be analyzed 
> for both parties.  I think one of the best ways to respond to those who 
> are ignorant, who are not attempting to be mean, but make offensive 
> remarks is through body language, like rolling one's eyes.  Most sighted 
> people use   nonverbal communication to show  when they are irritated by 
> another person.  If the person continues to  be annoying, the person will 
> then use verbal communication.  That is why sighted people think blind are 
> mean for actually verbally stating their anger, instead of visually 
> displaying it.  I would like to see a class where advanced nonverbal 
> communication is explained, since    currently it seems there are just the 
> basics  taught, like  facing the person you are talking to and shaking 
> hands.  There is not a class in how to display   the various  ways of 
> shooing levels of discomfort, from   annoyed, slightly irritated, somewhat 
> irritated, to angry.  Blind people need to know that sometimes it is 
> necessary to actively create facial expressions and body movements, as 
> opposed to letting one's body language depict their true feelings. 
> Personally, I was surprised at the amount of communication that is 
> displayed nonverbally, that sighted people watch me from across a large 
> college campus, or from way down the street, and are making judgments 
> about me from my appearance.  Once this was explained to me, I do feel 
> that I am more comfortable around sighted people, and am  in   control of 
> getting my feelings across.  The great thing about learning all this stuff 
> is that I have seen the amount of ignorance I faced by sighted people 
> diminish significantly.  It is a 50/50 situation: blind people need to do 
> their half of    helping get rid of ignorance  and sighted people need to 
> be willing to do their half.
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